Saturday, November 29, 2003

Thanksgiving with the Sopranos

This was my first Thanksgiving away from home. Granted, Thanksgiving in my family doesn't depict a traditional one, if we want turkey, we go to Boston Market. My family is not big on holidays, that's been the case all my life thus, it's what I know and it's what I'm fine with. But, this year I was in for a holiday treat, a traditional east coast Thanksgiving with the Sopranos meets the Romanos.

A friend from school, Jaime (this girl is crazy, she's one of those who you thought must have been a cheerleader/president of her sorority, but she's even cooler than that, she was the one roll her eyes at 'em) extends a gracious warm invite.

We approach the home and easily I spot the house. Christmas lights drape every pane and roof tile. We walk up the steps, I smell the enticing aroma, yum. We enter and turkey decor ubiquitous in this Queens suburb home. The greetings begin. The family is Italian, which means kisses on both cheeks for every hello, goodbye and a few extra in passing. Soon, appetizers are served: stuffed mushrooms, stuffed tomatoes, stuffed artichokes, Italians really know how to stuff, including guests. As soon as a plate clears, more food is on its way. Some food, then the Turkey Bowl. Yep, a family football game. Soon to follow, THE MEAL. All the fixings, two to three versions of all the fixings, "Candy, this is vegetarian stuffing, I know you're from California. Now, there are some low-cal foods, which I don't think you should eat, because it's not good and you don't need to be concerned but you're from California, so who knows?" I love it. Thus far, it's like what I see in the movies, except the characters names are Uncle Ray, Uncle Jimmy, Cousin Tony and a few juniors, there's even an Uncle Carmine. And the women, they're cooks, moms of 3-4 children, and they call you "honey" and "sweetie" with total naturalness. They also ask the family to go around and say grace.

My turn comes. I'm red and it's not from the wine, which they didn't stop pouring...I wonder if that was grape juice in the baby bottles. I creatively say, "I'm thankful for being able to spend Thanksgiving with this family." Everyone cheers, toasts and sips. This goes on for every person's grace. More energy is exerted in the after dinner activity, Charades. I don't recall the last time paying games with my, I take that back, we play a lot of phone tag.

And on those messages, we do tell each other what's going on in our lives, occasionally even that we miss each other and my mom is always telling me to wait to cross streets one foot away from the curb. So, when I was thinking about how jovially-spirited the Jordans are (for safety reasons, they don't go by Soprano), and wishing that I had a family that like that to go home to on the Holidays, I realized that I did wish I could go home to my family. We eat whatever delivers on a holiday, go to Starbucks for dessert, fight, yell, laugh, only to re-fuel to fight a little more...see, now that's the traditional Thanksgiving, isn't it? Although, the Jordans were a great substitute.